<
>

Football Scientist: Jets didn't match up

This is the first in a season-long series that will detail some of the key tape-based metric grades from the previous week's game.

One of the main stories coming out of the Jets-Ravens game is how successful the Ravens were in targeting rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson. It wasn't just that Wilson was targeted eight times and gave up 105 yards on those throws (for a ridiculously high 13.1 YPA). It was the variation Baltimore used in going after him. They threw three short passes (1-10 yards), 1 medium pass (11-19 yards), three deep passes (20-29 yards) and one bomb pass (30+ yards).

The Ravens also didn't just throw at him in one-on-one matchups. That might have been enough for many offensive coordinators, but not Cam Cameron. For example, he had his wideouts run two different variations of wheel routes at Wilson.

A typical wheel route is where a receiver starts at the slot position, starts to run straight towards the sideline and then circles to run upfield in one fast motion (akin to spinning a wheel, hence the name). It is a very hard route to defend if run properly because the cornerback's first instinct is to go chase the initial route fake.

That route almost worked on a pass to Anquan Boldin in the middle of the second quarter when Darrelle Revis had inside position and then had to hand Boldin off to Wilson on the outside. Doing that was rough enough for Wilson to handle but when the wheel route was combined with a slant route/pick designed to run traffic towards Wilson to make it even harder to follow the wheel turn, it led to a 27-yard gain in the 3rd quarter.

As impressive as the Ravens efforts were in going after Wilson, they do beg the question why the Jets didn't seem to put out the same effort in targeting Fabian Washington. Washington's yards per attempt total last year was over twice as high as Chris Carr's last year and yet Mark Sanchez didn't throw a single pass his way until late in the fourth quarter. Carr, on the other hand, was thrown at six times. Four were incompletions, one was a five-yard gain and another was a 33-yard gain nullified by a penalty. Total it up and the net sum of those throws was five yards gained in four passes if the penalty play is taken out.

We don't know if Washington wasn't tested because of a lack of Washington-centered play calls by Brian Schottenheimer or whether Sanchez just decided to not test him. Whichever it was, the Jets would do well to find a way to not to let their opponent's weakest coverage link off the hook so easily in the future.